Perfecting Service Management

Issue #5 Friday, November 1, 2003

Welcome!

topical index

Welcome to this edition of the Customer Centricity newsletter, where we explore ways for you to unlock the value of your customer relationships. The purpose of this newsletter is to deliver value to you in the form of information you can apply in your role as a customer-focused business leader and to provide updates from Customer Centricity.

In this issue you will learn about a critical element necessary to unlock the value of your customer satisfaction surveys: Management Review and Assessment.
 

In this issue:

How can we better serve you?

It is our goal to provide a newsletter that is meaningful to you, which covers ideas and approaches that you can use to meet today's most pressing business challenges. It is in this spirit, that we ask you to complete our short (7 question) survey. By doing so, we can tailor future editions of the newsletter to meet your needs.

You can take this survey by clicking on the following link.

http://www.websurveyor.net/wsb.dll/10608/ccnewsletter110102.htm

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Customer Centricity presents - A Customer Service Workshop

Craig Bailey, President and Founder of Customer Centricity, will present a "Customer Service Workshop: Increase Your Bottom Line By Helping Your Customers" at Rivier College, in Nashua, NH. This event will take place on Thursday, November 7, at 5:45 pm. This program is sponsored by the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center.

We will discuss customer relationship strategies and how customer service can positively impact the bottom line for any size organization. We will also address what companies can do now, in these tough economic times, to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

This program is designed for any business that has significant customer contact, whether it is business-to-business or business-to-consumer. The program is a hands-on workshop designed to help companies distinguish themselves through excellent customer service. The workshop will discuss how delivering quality customer service can help address four major challenges business leaders face in today’s economic climate:

Increasing revenue when new customers are difficult to acquire
Maintaining customer confidence and satisfaction while reducing the cost of operating the business
Distinguishing themselves in the marketplace
Meeting their performance objectives

The program will be held in Rivier College’s Education Center, Room 313, located at 420 Main Street in Nashua, NH. Admission is $25 and registration is required. A reduced admission of $15 is available for additional attendees from the same company. To register contact Rosemary Macmillan at Rivier College at 603-897-8587 or via email at rmcmillan@rivier.edu.

http://www.rivier.edu

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Spotlight: Customer Centricity Offering

We are EXTREMELY pleased with the response we have received, from our recently announced offer: the Customer Service Assessment.

One question we have heard is: "How can value be obtained by conducting only a 1/2 to a full-day assessment, that you will do for free?" Our response, to this excellent question, is two-fold:

This is a risk-free exercise that gives us each an opportunity to learn about one-another, to determine if we can form a mutually beneficial long-term relationship.
The principals, at Customer Centricity, are engaged to perform the assessment:
seasoned veterans that have performed in Customer Service and Operations Management capacities for many years. We sit with your customer-facing personnel for about an hour (with a head-set on listening to customer calls) , interview key personnel (customer-facing, management, executives, customers) and observe the processes and tools used for serving your customer.

A key result of the workshop is the identification of gaps within your organization, that may have gone undetected through internal (business as usual) observation. Finally, we provide a report of findings and recommendations that we have found effective in responding to issues that we will uncover for you.

To reiterate, we announced that as part of its introduction we are providing the Customer Service Assessment to qualified companies at no charge.

Give us a call if you'd like to learn more about how this "no-cost" assessment can benefit you.

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Part 5: Management Review and Assessment

We are now in the home stretch, in the series on “Unlocking the value of your customer satisfaction surveys”. Previous articles, in the series, discussed:

  • Adherence to Measurement Principles
  • Responding to Immediate Customer Needs Identified During the Survey Process
  • Implementing Customer-Focused Changes
  • Implementing Account Strategies

You can review these articles online, at the links provided below.

In today’s business environment you don’t want to miss ANY opportunities to “meet your numbers”. Based on an in-depth study, it has been determined that an increase in customer satisfaction leads to an increase in revenue. This is a double-win: increasing customer satisfaction ensures that you hang on to your customers, and it helps you to meet your revenue goals! To reap the full benefits of your customer satisfaction survey program, you need to include management review and assessment, which is the final topic in the series.

Management Review and Assessment:
This step in the process is all about the reality that if management isn’t engaged to review, and assess the results of, your customer satisfaction survey program you will receive diminishing returns over time. Personnel will lose focus on the program as their attention is diverted to other challenges prevalent in today’s business environment. And, you will be at risk of losing focus on your single source of revenue: the customer. To avoid this unfortunate outcome, let’s
review the final steps in the process of leveraging your customer satisfaction survey program to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, and increasing revenue.

In previous articles we discussed the following areas for management involvement in the program (a senior manager’s checklist):

  • Perform reviews of survey results and trends
  • Ensure my organization is fully engaged in the program, and is taking action to respond to satisfaction trends
  • Tie my organization’s compensation model to the achievement of customer satisfaction goals
  • Be personally involved in the process of implementing account strategies

In addition to the above, there are 3 areas we will explore for management involvement that puts the “icing on the cake”, on your customer satisfaction survey program.

  • Customer Satisfaction: A Key Performance Indicator
  • Ensure customer-focused change programs are in line with strategy
  • Customer Feedback: Critical Input to business Decisions

Customer Satisfaction: A Key Performance Indicator

To effectively manage their business, executives track key performance indicators (KPIs) in the areas of financial performance, sales results, product/service delivery intervals, quality, customer and employee retention, etc. To complete this picture, you need to bring executive attention to your company’s customer satisfaction levels. If these are not on the list of metrics, that your senior management team monitors, you are encouraged to increase awareness of the benefits of doing so. If you require more information, regarding the relationship between increasing customer satisfaction and increases in revenue, to “promote the cause”, give us a call. We would be happy to share additional information on this topic.

Ensure customer-focused change programs are in line with strategy

Your business, like most, is changing every day. This requires senior management to continuously evaluate where and how resources are invested. The customer survey remediation program (described in a previous article) will generate many ideas for initiatives to improve customer satisfaction levels. Management must be aware of, and at some level “approve”, these programs to ensure that they are in line with corporate direction. In an environment of stretched resources, as is especially the case today, when you make a decision to say “yes” to a new initiative, you are required to make a decision of “no”, to what you will no longer focus on. Make no mistake, this decision WILL occur: either consciously or unconsciously. These decisions are much better made on a conscious level based on the priorities you have set for your organization.

Customer Feedback: Critical Input to Business Decisions

Often companies review market trends to look for opportunities to augment their product and service offerings with the hope of capturing “new revenue” from “new customers”. And, they do this without an understanding of what they could achieve for “new revenue” from their existing customer-base. By investing in new initiatives that don’t address the pressing needs of your existing customers you may inadvertently alienate these customers. The result: customer defection. As such, take the time to evaluate the trends in your customer satisfaction levels to obtain invaluable customer input to drive your business decisions. You can do this at the macro-level (overall satisfaction), but you will obtain significantly more input by performing a detailed review of specific customer feedback on particular aspects of your product and service offerings. By leveraging your customer’s input in making critical business decisions you will be taking yet another step to mitigate risk and ensure that the decision you make is a good one.

By having senior management “this involved” in your customer satisfaction survey program you ensure that the voice of the customer reaches executive management “unfiltered”. Without this level of involvement, rest assured that customer information will get a “spin” as it rises through management, prior to reaching the executives. This prevents upper management from having a true sense of how the customers are feeling about your company’s products, services and overall performance at meeting their needs. And, policy makers are shielded from accurate customer opinions, resulting in erroneous decisions.

This article completes our series on “Unlocking the value of your customer satisfaction surveys”. Consistently following the approaches we have outlined ensures that your organization remains focused on its single source of revenue: the customer. By effectively leveraging the results of your customer satisfaction survey program, you are taking advantage of another opportunity to “make your numbers”.

If you have any questions or ideas related to this topic feel free to drop us an email, or call. We would be more than happy to compare notes with you.

Previous Articles In This Series:
Part 1: Measurement Principles
Part 2: Responding to the Immediate Needs of Your Customer
Part 3: Implementing Customer-Focused Change
Part 4: Implementing Account Strategies

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More About Customer Centricity, Inc.

Customer Centricity is a business consulting firm that partners with companies to improve the performance of their service organizations. We leverage our real-world experience to help our clients manage their customer relationships in more effective and satisfying ways.

Customer Centricity delivers on this promise by optimizing the interaction between people, process and technology to achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction and increased operational efficiencies. We provide:

  1. Comprehensive assessments to identify the actions that will yield the greatest return;
  2. Skills Training to enable customer-facing personnel to deliver exceptional levels of customer service;
  3. Design and Implementation of business process techniques to serve the customer in efficient, effective and consistent manners; and
  4. Identification of the appropriate business processes to automate, enabling companies to get the most from their investments in technology.

In addition to our core practices, we also maintain a network of strategic partnerships to provide end-to-end consulting across your organization with a commitment to seamless execution.

Click on the following link to see what our customers have to say.

To learn more about Customer Centricity:

call: 603.491.7948

send e-mail to: info@customercentricity.biz 

or visit our web-site: www.customercentricity.biz

In Closing

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Copyright (c) 2002 by Customer Centricity, Inc. All rights reserved.